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Pyramid Paperback – April 26, 1982


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Edition Unstated edition (April 26, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395321212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395321218
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When children catch their first glimpse of a pyramid, a sea of questions inevitably tumbles forth. "Why are they shaped like that?" "How were they made?" "Who made them?" "What were they used for?" Perplexed adults can sigh with relief now that David Macaulay has found a way to thoroughly answer all those deserving questions. His exquisitely crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations frame the engaging fictional story of an ancient pharaoh who commissions a pyramid to be built for him. With great patience and respect for minute detail (not unlike the creators of the early pyramids), Macaulay explains the sometimes backbreaking tasks of planning, hauling, chiseling, digging, and hoisting that went into the construction of this awe-inspiring monument. Just when the narrative teeters on the edge of textbook doldrums, Macaulay brings us back to the engaging human drama of death and superstition. This respectful blending of architecture, history, and mysticism will certainly satiate pyramid-passionate children as well as their obliging parents. ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 and older) --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"David Macaulay's brilliant Pyramid shows, detail by detail, how the great pharaohs' burial places were conceived and constructed . . . His draftsmanship is unexcelled, and his book is pharaonic in opulence and design." Time Magazine

More About the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

Customer Reviews

Most everyone is fascinated with the Pyramids of ancient Egypt.
VS Grenier Amazon Customer
David MacAulty's book discusses and illustrates "one method" by which the pyramids of Egypt may have been built, and follows the construction step by step.
Cletus F. Wallace
The author knows his topic but writes his book so anyone can enjoy the knowledge and enlightenment a deeper understanding of the past can provide.
J. Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Moore on July 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous book for anyone looking to learn more about the pyramids of Ancient Egypt without the burden of scholar-like vocabulary and disturbing depth. But at the same time the book conveys the mysteries of the pyramids with a keen intellect of the topic. The author knows his topic but writes his book so anyone can enjoy the knowledge and enlightenment a deeper understanding of the past can provide.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Charles Flemming on August 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Who hasn't wondered how the Great Pyramids came to be? In this stunningly illustrated, richly detailed book, David Macaulay skillfully shows one way they could have been built. I had ordered the book for our family's study of ancient Egypt, based on a recommendation in The Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Egypt, which raved about it. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was stunned at the detail and care of the drawings and fascinated by the accounts. Although the long descriptions were daunting for my then-first grader, the illustrations caught her eye, and her older siblings dug into it with enthusiasm.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cletus F. Wallace on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
David MacAulty's book discusses and illustrates "one method" by which the pyramids of Egypt may have been built, and follows the construction step by step. His pen and ink drawings are excellent. The book may have been written for children (ages 9 and older) but, I enjoyed the book. I highly recommend it for adults and children with an interest in the pyramids. My eight year old son was fascinated by the book. Hopefully, his interest in Egyptology has been sparked by this fine book. I tend to disagree with the author when he refers to the pyramids as tombs. No bodies have been found within the pyramids. Its more likely the pyramids were used as structures for initiation ceremonies. Although, not specifically stated the entire book, except for a brief discussion of the Queen's pyramid and the mummification process, is devoted to the Great Pyramid of Khufu. The brief discussion of the mummification process is just the right amount of information for a child's book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
Who built the pyramids of the Giza Plateau...and why? How were the two million massive stone blocks quarried and set into place? David MacAulay answers these questions and more in a most historically accurate and logically developed book. Written for children, MacAulay takes the reader through each intricate step of the pyramid's construction from its conception on papyrus to its final completion. Leaving no stone unturned, PYRAMID also provides intriguing information on the daily lives of the Ancient Egyptians: how they viewed life and death, and what God and the afterlife meant to them. Each page is filled with sprawling pen and ink drawings which clearly illustrate their clever engineering techniques. PYRAMID is a simply written but vastly informative and enjoyable book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kara Reuter on September 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
With exquisitely detailed black-line drawings, this book shows how the pyramids in Egypt may have been constructed. A two-page introduction gives some background of life in Egypt, including an overview of Egyptian spiritual beliefs and practices, especially those related to death and dying. The introduction makes clear that this book is based on an imaginary pharaoh and an imaginary pyramid and that there are differences of opinion about the construction process the Egyptians used.

After the brief introduction, the illustrations dominate, comprising as much as 80% of the pages. Almost like time-lapse photography, readers can see the pyramid grow in vast landscapes, giving children a good sense of the scale of the pyramids, where people are just specks dotting the sides of the massive structure. In addition to these landscapes, Macaulay includes background on the people who designed and built their pyramids and their techniques with illustrations of the different workers and their tools, as well as architectural floor plans and cutaway diagrams.

The text is difficult and presents challenges with its vocabulary and syntax as well as its concepts. A one-page glossary of Egyptian and architectural terms provides some assistance. However, the account of how the priest uses the stars to locate true north is a difficult concept to comprehend; the textual and pictorial explanations may not be sufficient for any but advanced readers.

Though the text and many of the concepts are demanding, young readers will be carried along by the drawings that truly offer a step-by-step guide to how the pyramids were built. The distant and perhaps "quaint"-seeming aspects of Egyptian beliefs and practices are nicely contrasted with their highly advanced, ingenious construction techniques.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Will Riddle on March 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I hate to say anything negative about a book and author who are so well esteemed. Indeed, Macaulay is an amazing artist and engineer, and the quality of the book is very high. But, this was my first exposure to his work, and it just wasn't what I expected after seeing his books come up in every homeschooling catalog I have.

I just couldn't get my younger kids (8, 7, 6, 4) into it. We bought the book as a staple for our unit on Ancient Egypt, and my boys in particular were really excited to learn about the pyramids. But this book didn't make it into our favorites. The book suffers from a couple main problems: one, it is black and white. For an adult, the detailed black and white ink is fabulous and easy to appreciate. Not so much for a kid. Page after page of black and white of the same subject matter only fascinated the most scientific of my kids.

Secondly, the length of the book makes it more appealing to upper elementary rather than lower elementary. My kindergartner really wanted me to sit down with him and this book when he first saw it. But I'd lost him by about ten pages in. Similarly, the text is hard to get into. It's dry. On some pages, there are only a sentence or two which the kids could handle while they were looking carefully at the drawings. But on others, there are larger and more complex paragraphs which even my third grader struggled with, in addition to the schematics.

In conclusion, this is a fabulous work on the subject but much more appealing to an adult. I know that many educators don't think resources should be dumbed down, but there is an art to making something age-appropriate and grooming younger ages to become more curious. I don't think this book extends far enough in this direction.
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